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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to the sport but am interested in learning the art of NRA Conventional Pistol shooting. I am practicing with a stock Colt Series 70 Government. I am unable to shoot anything that even remotely resembles a group at 25 yards, so I am not in a hurry to upgrade the pistol. My question centers on the placement of the trigger finger as it relates to trigger control. I have been repeatedly told not to use the first distal joint of the index finger. Page 22 of the USAMU Pistol Marksmanship Guide suggests that using either the pad or joint of the finger is a viable option. Using the finger joint feels most comfortable because my index finger is splayed out when using the pad. Which finger placement is most successfully used by most shooters? :confused:


Page 22, USAMU Pistol Marksmanship Guide:
 

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For a lighter trigger (single action) I use option b (pad of fingertip). For a heavy trigger (double action / glock) I use option a (1st distal joint).
 

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Where to place trigger finger

Use either the finger pad or the joint, your preference. Your objective is to release the trigger without disturbing sight alignment. so whichever works and is comfortable, use it! A person with long fingers may use their joint while a person with shorter fingers might like to use the finger pad. The bottom line is use what works for you.

Many years ago, I was told to use the finger pad since it is more sensitive. However, a great former National champion shooter named Brian Zinns uses the joint. I would never tell a great 2600 shooter and National Champion how to place his finger for trigger control:)....use what works best for you!
 

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The portion of your trigger finger between the hand and the first joint MUST NOT make contact with the pistol when you pull the trigger. Too much finger in the guard will often cause that.

The base of the finger will push the gun left (for a right hander) and often down a bit.

Make sure there is day light between the gun and your finger.
 

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I also shoot conventional pistol.

I started out using the pad.

After reading a lot of things Zins (9 time conventional pistol champion) had to say I decided to give the first joint a solid try. It did help "me".

I still think that either can work, and one way might work better than the other for different people.

Changing to the first joint changed my ENTIRE grip......not just the placement of my index finger. It's hard to describe and really needs to be shown......let me try.

Here is a traditional grip (ignore my sloppy drawing):




Here is how Zins grips and he does so for two good reasons: I believe he referred to this as a "between the hams" grip. Between the meaty/fleshy portions of your palm.



This grip does two things.
1) Locks the grip into you palm A LOT better....especially for rapid fire
2) Gives you more trigger finger to allow a comfortable reach and allows the average person to center the first joint over the trigger.

Of course it takes a little getting used to but it helped my .45 scores tremendously.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I appreciate the input!

The consensus is placement does not matter as long as the index finger does not touch the frame and the grip facilitates naturally pulling straight back on the trigger.

Thank you.
 

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The shape of your hand, length of your fingers, your hand strength and how your gun is setup will determine how you should be pressing the trigger. Unload the gun and go into a room where there is no ammo and where you know where a bullet would end up if you did make a mistake and leave a round in the chamber. Then dry fire the gun while watching the sight picture against an object you can see clearly enough while focusing on the front sight and try different finger positions until you find the one that moves the front sight the least, or preferably not at all. Someone, somewhere, sometime will tell you that you're doing it wrong. But unless whoever that is has been consistently beating you, by a lot, ignore them and do what you know works for you.
 

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The Trigger must go straight back

I would recommend using the middle of the index finger tip (between the tip and the 1st joint). Measure your grip so as the motion is the trigger going straight back as you press. I sometimes focus on locking that first joint so the motion is straight back. This is were the 1911 excels in that you can customize your trigger to do this motion( long fingers go with a longer trigger vs a shorter trigger for shorter fingers). Your right hand grip pressure on the pistol should be on the front and back strap exclusively and with enough grip so the gun doesn't shake. Start there and see what happens. This is a good gun to diagnose your trigger pull/push.
 

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Hi Locksport.
I have been shooting a long time and that does not make me an expert by any streach, but I have learned a little something In that time. One of the things that I know Is being consistent with your hand hold and finger placment on the trigger, Practice, practice and more practice. Trigger time, muscle memory, sight picture are all important. How you stand, your balance. You will have bad days, don't let them get you down, no one becomes a champion over night. Sometimes when having one of them bad days, just stop, put the weapon away, and go home. I think by fighting a bad day, it just gets worse, but that's me.
Good luck to you and enjoy shooting!!!
Semper Fi all. Hank D.
 

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As has been mentioned, hand size and shape determines how you hold/ pull. You have to place your finger so that you SQUEEZE the trigger STRAIGHT back.. the same... every time. Dry firing is your friend... especially with a laser since you can project the beam and see any wobble as it is ampified at distance....
 
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